I enjoy beer. Nicole is very aware of this fact. She also likes to do nice things for me, especially around the holidays. Because she is a top-notch wife, she has been making me a craft beer Advent calendar for several years. The idea is that I get to unwrap and enjoy a different bottle of brew every day in December leading up to Dec. 25.
Here’s the process: Nicole goes out and purchases 25 different bottles of beer. Many liquor stores and even some grocery stores have a craft beer section where customers can create their own 6-pack in order to try a variety of new beers. She then festively covers the labels and numbers the bottles 1-25. Nicole originally presented the Christmas countdown to me in a wrapped cardboard box. It was very nice, but she wanted to take the presentation to another level. And just like that, the bottle tree was born.
Below you will find a supply list and instructions for building your very own wooden Advent calendar tree. It might even be glorious enough to replace your Christmas Tree/Holiday Bush.
- 2 ft. x 4 ft. sheet of 0.5 in. Oak Plywood (or comparable sheet of wood)
- 1 ft. x 1 ft. sheet of 1 in. plywood for the base (or check for scrap wood around the house or hardware store)
- 0.75 in. Wooden Dowel Rod (2.5 in. long)
- Circular Saw
- 2.5 in. Hole Saw (minimum size for standard 12 oz. beer bottle – snug fit)
- Strongly suggest 3 in. Hole Saw (or larger) for bigger bottles. Measure your bottles first 🙂
- Power Drill
- Hand Saw
- Clamps (Quick-Grips are muy bueno)
- Wood Chisel or Flat Head Screwdriver
- Hammer and Nail
- Electric Sander and Sand Paper
- 3 Wood Screws
- Template (download here: 2.5 in. Circles Template – 3 in. Circles Template – Mixed: 2.5in. and 3 in. Circles Template)
- Wood Stain (optional)
- Safety Glasses (mandatory for those who enjoy properly functioning eyeballs)
- Gather supplies
Don’t own some of the tools you need? Borrow from friends/family/neighbors! Or you can rent/buy from most local hardware stores.
- Cut plywood in half
Fire up the circular saw! You will be left with two 2 ft. x 2 ft. sheets.
- Stack and clamp
Stacking the plywood and clamping them together will ensure you are creating two identical pieces for the tree.
- Draw template onto plywood
Print the template and cut it out. Then trace the outline onto your clamped wood. Next, use your hammer and nail to mark the center of each circle.
- Make your cuts
Use your circular saw to cut the clamped plywood along your traced outlines of the template.
- Drill out holes
Attach your hole saw to your drill and cut out each circle by placing the pilot bit of the hole saw onto the nail markings. Use a pencil to mark the nail holes if they are too small to see. You can also alternate using different sized hole saws so your tree accommodates various sized bottles.
*Use your clamps during this step to keep your wood stabilized.
**Elevate the plywood with some scrap 2×4’s so you aren’t cutting into the surface below
***It will be a pain to remove the circular pieces of wood from the hole saw each time your cut, but the finished product will (probably) be worth it. Here’s a link to a 1 min. YouTube video with a handy trick for removing those stubborn circular pieces: https://youtu.be/aP_Wg1pGO0Q
- Sand all wood pieces
Depending on the quality of wood, you may only have to sand the edges where cuts where made.
- Stain wood pieces (if desired)
- Assemble tree structure
a. Cut a 2.5 in. long piece of the wooden dowel rod. This rod will hold the two identical tree pieces together.
b. I chose to position the rod centered at the top.
c. Secure the rod to the tree pieces with a wood screw. You can opt to use wood glue instead if you don’t like the look of the screw head.
- Build the base
This is where you can get creative. You can use leftover pieces of plywood or 2 x 4’s or purchase some wood from the store. I used an old wooden shelf that was laying around the house (approx. 1 in. thick).
a. Cut two 5.25 in. x 4 in. pieces for the vertical supports
b. Cut one 10 in. x 2.5 in. piece for the horizontal support
c. Cut two notches into the top of each vertical support. Center the notches onto your support with 2.5 inches in between them. These notches need to be slightly wider than your tree structure (0.6 in width). The notches are angled, so measure 0.5 in. down on one side and 1 in. down on the other. To cut the notches, I used a hand saw and a wood chisel (kind of like this guy but with less skill: https://youtu.be/BKgx5Rf7nno)
d. Secure the vertical supports to the horizontal piece with a few wood screws
- Place tree structure onto base
Victory! Hopefully your finished product looks something like the pic below. If it doesn’t, who cares. The 25 tasty brews being held by the tree are the real stars of this project. But keep it mind: the better the tree looks, the more likely it will be used year after year.
- Adorn with beer and enjoy!
- Gather supplies
Hope you enjoyed this post. Let us know if you made your own craft beer Advent calendar by posting a picture of your masterpiece in the comments. You can also post a pic on social media and tag Chinchilly and Co.
Prost and happy holidays!